So that’s the MOT done.
Full (re)Service scheduled to start on 11 May.
For the past two weeks – since I last wrote – I’ve been poked, prodded, probed and pricked as the medical teams make sure my body is not only ready to undergo the stem cell re-plantation, but is primed to avoid infection as best as possible for the next three to six months.
I’m finding this an odd time in the treatment cycle.
The ‘comfort’ of my three-week chemo cycle is now well behind me. The hurdle of harvesting stem cells has been overcome. I’ve had all virtually all my pre-transplant health checks. Now it’s time to rest, wait and prepare.
The pre-transplant MOT has included one colonoscopy; three dental appointments; four injections; two heart examinations; four lung tests; and one 5 litre urine sample bottle.
I’ve also managed to squeeze in one family and friends weekend away at a caravan park; one drunken night of karaoke; three gentle bike rides; and a (losing) day at the races.
Busy, busy, busy!
On the health side, it was an odd feeling going back to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for a colonoscopy.
The Endoscopy Unit is, to some extent, where this journey really started. It was a colonoscopy back in October that unexpectedly found the lymphoma. The rest is history.
Despite the negative memories, I pretty much took this visit in my stride, with my biggest issue (again) being the 24 hours I had to go without food. Man, that’s a tough ask!
Luckily the weather was great so I sat out in the garden whilst Louise and the kids were having meals, though it didn’t stop the young ‘uns teasing me with shouts about how delicious their food was followed by waving Mini-Magnum ice creams under my nose. I’ve written them out of my Will…
Again, the sedative did nothing more than make me feel like I’d had a nice glass of wine, and I happily watched the entire procedure on the HD big screen. Helps pass the time I suppose!
Visually, all looks great. But the devil will be in the detail of the various biopsies that were taken.
I broke my fast by eating my body-weight in chicken from KFC. Well needs must…
I used to be petrified of the dentist. Especially if I wasn’t being seen by my usual dentist. Last week I saw three different dentists and was cool as a cucumber throughout.
First, the family dentist on Monday – all excellent from her perspective. But the specialist dentist at the Western on Wednesday was trying to look ahead for problems and reduce any chance of an infection hitting me when I’m immuno-suppressed after my stem cell transplant.
Even the mildest infection during the weeks after my transplant can make me seriously ill or worse. Imagine being killed by toothache??
So she paid particular attention to the gums and wisdom teeth, which were all decent except one wisdom tooth which is only partially ‘erupted’ and therefore a risk.
I had a detailed x-ray taken and a dinky wee camera put to the pack of my mouth to take photos.
I was glad then that the cameras for the colonoscopy and dental work weren’t mixed up my like my stomach needles last month!
On Friday I was called in to get a chunk of gum around the wisdom tooth removed as there was a danger that this flappy skin could get infected. The procedure was known as an Operculectomy – another one to add to my list!
With a sore, numb mouth I took it easy on Friday night by getting a little bit drunk and doing three hours of sweaty karaoke – not what the dentist ordered!
This week, my MOT work was concluded with a variety of tests and checks on my lungs, heart, blood and urine. That’s almost a recipe for haggis and black pudding there!
Lung tests were checking capacity and strength, and seeing how good I was at converting air to oxygen. Heart wise, I got an ECG and an echocardiogram, which at times looked just like a baby scan. Get the feeling I wasn’t the first to quip “can you tell if it’s a boy or a girl yet?”…
All of this was painless but time-consuming.
Finally a quick blood check and the handing in of my 5 litre urine sample bottle. Luckily, despite being given 24 hours, I didn’t have to fill it! Think I was still dehydrated after Friday night!!
So the MOT is done, though I won’t know the results until I return from a wee family break to Centre Parcs.
I’m pretty confident everything’s in good order. I’ll find out when I meet my consultatnt after having a Hickman Line inserted into my chest on May 9. Then it’s in for the transplant conditioning (six days of industrial strength chemo) on May 11, and the actual re-plantation of the stem cells on May 18.
I think I’ll just put my feet up for a few days!